A new bus service linking Syria's Kurdish-controlled northeast with the government-held west, unthinkable before Islamic State was driven from the area, is raising hopes of renewed commerce between two long-estranged parts of a fractured country.
Kurdish-led authorities hope the new corridor will end the economic isolation of their region, bordered as it is by hostile parties. For Damascus, the corridor holds out the prospect of sourcing fuel and food from the resource-rich northeast.
The service from Kurdish-controlled Qamishli to Aleppo city goes through territory captured from Islamic State (IS) by Russian-backed Syrian government forces in February. Until then, only an intrepid few would make a journey that entailed crossing through areas held by Islamic State and competing rebel groups.